God is Faithful | Summer Update from Pastor Jon
Dearest Christ Church Family,
The Psalmist writes, Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; Wait for the LORD! (Ps. 27:14). Waiting is hard, especially when it pertains to good things that we deeply desire. Some of you are presently waiting upon the Lord for career direction, a spouse, or children. Perhaps you are dealing with a health issue, and waiting for answers. You believe life would be so much better if the Lord would only give you your heart’s desire. It’s the experience of most.
Those who’ve been attending Christ Church Presbyterian for any significant length of time have been waiting upon the Lord for a building to call home. If only we had our own building we would be able to create a better space for Lord’s Day worship, be more hospitable to our visitors, provide superior nurseries and classrooms for our covenant children, and expand our ministry throughout the week. But God knows best. He knows what we need and when we need it. He is God (all-powerful), and he is our Heavenly Father (all loving and all wise). His ways are unsearchable. Therefore, living by faith means prayerfully waiting upon our Father and humbly submitting to his plans for us, and not the other way around. His grace is sufficient, and his power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Let us wait upon the Lord. He will renew our strength, and empower us to persevere with joy.
Building Search — What Now?
In addition to trusting God and waiting upon him in prayer, we will continue to aggressively search out possibilities for a new location. When we first discovered the property at 486 Wando Park Blvd. the elders and deacons believed that our congregation was fully capable of purchasing the facility. However, since the decision to move forward on the property our church has experienced several transitions. Many families moved away, and others began attending different churches in the area. Even with these changes, however, through extraordinary generosity and sacrifice our congregation was able to raise over $1.7 million dollars in pledges! I cannot begin to tell you how encouraging this is to me personally. Your love for Christ Church Presbyterian and your passion to see her grow in faithfulness, visibility, and witness is almost palpable.
Whatever happens, the Lord has used this entire process to foster deeper unity, love, encouragement, and commitment as a congregation. Just this week (in Lord’s Day worship and in two mid-week small groups) I’ve experienced some of the sweetest and most heartening fellowship since we began the work in 2013. I love Christ Church. It is an extraordinary body of believers. I hear that all the time from folks who visit us. Christ Church, let’s revel in what’s most important, even if we don’t yet have what is less important— a permanent facility. That is, let’s revel in our blessed triune God, his glorious gospel of grace, and in one another. The lines have fallen for us in pleasant places. Would anyone exchange a beautiful building for these indescribable blessings?
I’ve always believed that sharing a church building with a congregation would be an ideal situation for us, providing more of an affordable, suitable, and hospitable context in which to grow. Also, a building-share could potentially benefit another congregation who may be facing financial challenges. Please pray that the Lord would grant us grace, patience, and wisdom as we continue our search for a church home. And please continue to give sacrificially to the building fund. Your giving and your pledges are not in vain. If you’d like to keep an eye out for future possibilities, keep in mind that we will need: 5-10k square feet, seating for 250+, parking, and space for at least two nurseries.
The Ordination of New Elders and Deacons
On Sunday, July 21st, in our morning service, we will ordain seven godly members of our congregation to serve as officers and shepherds of our flock. After the service we will celebrate our new officers with a church-wide catered lunch. Make plans to fellowship and eat with us! Please pray for elder elects Mike Royal and Tobe Hester, and for deacon elects Jake Earle, Ralph Charles, Matt Cope, Whit Jacobs, and Jake Biles. Pray that the Lord would use this new group of leaders to foster unity, spiritual growth, shepherding care, and strong organization in the life of our church for many years to come. One final note — although elected by the congregation, Brian Brindis de Salas will not serve in leadership at this time due to health and other personal reasons.
PCA General Assembly: Pastor’s Report
Many of you have expressed interest in the events and actions of the 47th PCA General Assembly which took place June 25th-28th. This year our national assembly took place in Dallas, Texas. Almost 50 overtures were sent up to the General Assembly from various presbyteries to deliberate and vote upon. About a dozen overtures were specifically in reference to human sexuality, and the need to speak biblically and clearly to the church and to the world on these foundational matters. Due to the influence of REVOICE, an unreliable and erroneous para-church organization that seeks to minister to believers who struggle with homosexual desires, some have become confused about the historic biblical and reformed doctrines of sin, sanctification, desires, and temptation; especially in relation to homosexual desires and identity in Christ.
The Gospel Reformation Network, a network of PCA ministers seeking to cultivate healthy and faithful Reformed churches in the PCA, hosted a conference in Dallas the day before the General Assembly. Over 300 PCA teaching elders, ruling elders, and laypeople attended and enjoyed stellar instruction on biblical sexuality from Drs. Ligon Duncan, Al Mohler, Kevin DeYoung, and David Garner. In addition, Tim Geiger was a featured member of our panel discussion. Tim is the president of a biblical and reliable ministry to Christians struggling with sexual sin and addictions. Every message from our conference was recorded on video and is available at gospelreformation.net. As your pastor, I would strongly urge you to watch and listen to these outstanding presentations by some of the finest pastors and theologians of our generation. The culture is putting extraordinary pressure on our churches and pastors right now. They are asking us to bow the knee at the sound of their seductive music. But we must stand firm in God’s truth. We cannot, indeed, we must not, waver on biblical sexuality.
I was encouraged that the PCA General Assembly voted to affirm the Nashville Statement on human sexuality. Rooted in Scripture, the NS is a clear and concise statement of affirmations and denials affirming biblical teaching on sexuality and gender, while rejecting the LGBTQ+ doctrine of our culture. You can read the statement here: https://cbmw.org/nashville-statement/
Some are concerned that the vote to affirm the NS only passed by a 20% margin. What one must recognize, however, is that the 40% who voted against it mostly did so on the conviction that a better and more pastorally sensitive statement could be produced by a future PCA study committee. In other words, out of those 40% only a fringe minority would have issues with the actual content of the NS. A study committee on human sexuality was, indeed, approved by the assembly, and will report back to the assembly in Birmingham next year. I am very optimistic that the study committee will provide our denomination with a biblically sound and pastorally insightful report, and that those who choose to embrace an aberrant view of sin, temptation, progressive sanctification, and human sexuality will either need to move on to a new denomination or be removed from office in the PCA.
If you are interested in a more detailed report of the numerous actions and highlights of the 47th PCA General Assembly please read the following article: https://www.theaquilareport.com/pca-47th-general-assembly-some-highlights-and-actions/
New Director of Discipleship | Michael Bauer
We are delighted to welcome Mr. Michael Bauer as our new Director of Discipleship. Michael is a recent graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC (M.Div). He and his wife Sarah moved into their Mount Pleasant home two weeks ago, and they are expecting their first child in September. Michael has already begun the ordination process with the Lowcountry Presbytery. It’s a somewhat rigorous process of written and oral examinations in the areas of English Bible, church history, sacraments, theology and views, and church polity. Pray for Michael as he works through the “trials” of ordination. God-willing, he will be approved as a teaching elder for Christ Church at the November stated meeting, and shortly thereafter will be ordained by a commission of the presbytery during an ordination service at Christ Church. After ordination Michael’s new title will be Assistant Pastor of Christ Church.
We have a lot of wonderful ministry going on at Christ Church. If you’re not plugged-in and connected it’s not because you lack of opportunity. I warmly encourage you to take advantage of our numerous opportunities for regular fellowship, service, and growth in the Lord. In addition to weekly Lord’s Day morning and evening worship (by far our most important meetings!), there are small groups, several mens and women’s Bible Studies, catechism kids’ classes, prayer meetings, and other regular events and activities. Perhaps you’d like to serve on the women’s committee or the nursery rotation or the welcome committee or the Sunday set-up crew. There’s so much to get involved in, and so many ways to serve … ways we’ve not even discovered yet.
Word of Thanks | Request for Prayer
When we returned from vacation we received about 50 notes and cards from you, dear members of our church family. That meant a lot. Thank you. Especially heartwarming were the many notes from our covenant children expressing love and prayers for their pastor.
My love for you — members of Christ Church Presbyerian — runs deep. This September a new book co-edited by myself and Rev. Sebastian Heck will be released entitled, A Faith Worth Defending: The Synod of Dort’s Enduring Heritage. It’s a collection of essays written by scholar pastors commemorating the 400th anniversary of the historic Synod of Dort (1618-19). My chapter is entitled “Proclaiming Joyful Tidings: Dort, Evangelism, & the Sovereignty of God.” The book, published by Reformation Heritage Books, is dedicated to you, Christ Church Presbyterian, and also to Sebastian’s congregation in Heidelberg, Germany: Selbständige Evangelisch-Reformierte Kirche. It’s a small way to say thank you for loving me and my family so well.
At the end of this month I will be away for a few days speaking at the Dort400 conference in Heidelberg, Germany and Dordrecht, Netherlands. Please pray for the conference, and for the special worship service on Lord’s Day July 28th were I will proclaim God’s Word in the 11th century Grote Kerk. The first worship service commencing the Synod of Dort took place in this historic church on November 13th, 1618. A little over six months later, on May 29th, 1619, the 154th and final meeting of the Synod also took place in the Grote Kerk. The Synod of Dort met for over six months to discuss and refute the grave errors of Jacob Arminius and his followers. Out of this historic Synod, constituted of an international array of pastor-scholars, came what many refer to as the five points of Calvinism. So glad Max Kendall will be representing Christ Church at the conference!
Dearest Christ Church, I hope that this pastoral letter leaves you encouraged, as together we anticipate a bright future for our small but growing congregation. Let us press on in humility as we abide in Christ, love one another well, and make disciples of all nations— starting right here in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. ~ 1 Cor. 15:58
Your Pastor, Servant, and Friend,